Candles – (Gerhard Richter) Previous Next


‘Candles’ was a series of paintings by Gerhard Richter. The 1983 portrait of a single candle, referred to as ‘Kertz’ in German, is preserved in The Art Institute of Chicago. Frances Outred, at the Christie Auction House, during the 2011 Post-War & Contemporary Art gallery, spoke at length about this painting. He exclaimed that this painting “illuminated the room”. Richter was born in East Germany. He was brought up there but in 1961, a few years before the collapse of the Berlin Wall, he somehow escaped to West Germany. He grew up in an oppressive atmosphere of dogma and fundamentalism. Outred speaks of this painting as a “silent protest” against the regime that stifled hope and freedom for many. This painting exudes sheer warmth and as Outred remarks, it symbolizes both the hopefulness of living and the mortality of it. ‘Candle’ is a work of photographic nature, akin to a few other paintings he made in the 1980s like ‘Betty’. These paintings were far from the radical abstractions he attempted in the 1960s but still managed to impact with profound honesty.



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